My dad and I used to run races together when I was in high school. At the finish line of one 10k, a radio station van was blaring tunes while racers grabbed some post-race food and ate at picnic tables. At least most racers. One man, probably in his 60s, with only a few wispy hairs left atop his head, sporting a bandana, wristbands, too short shorts and a tank top, long striped socks, and glasses, wasn’t sitting at a picnic table – he was dancing on it. And when I say dancing, I mean flailing arms and gangly legs flying every which way. More like a seizure.
I was embarrassed for the guy. Almost as embarrassed as if it had been me. I looked around, and it was pretty clear I wasn’t the only one judging this guy. Which just fueled my disbelief and sense of justification in throwing barbs his way.
Just as I was saying “What a dork,” my dad said “I wish I could be that guy.”
I looked around to see who he was talking about. He was talking about THAT GUY.
I turned and looked at my dad and said “That guy? No you don’t. No one wants to be that guy. Not even that guy.”
My dad said “You don’t get it. That guy is having a great time because he’s doing what he wants and what makes him happy. He’s loving life and doesn’t care what you or anyone else thinks.”
I just laughed.
Twenty five years later, I get it. We all want to be that guy – or our version of that guy. I want to be more like that guy than the guy I was 25 years ago. I’d like to think I am. If I’m being honest, it probably depends on the day. In the short-term, the world rewards you for being the other guy. But in the long-term, those who choose to be that guy, that leader, that brand, that authentic, win.
Which guy do you want to be? Are you?